Nutritionist: Understanding probiotics is key to managing them effectively in poultry

Learn more about the complex interplay related to probiotics
calendar icon 23 December 2022
clock icon 1 minute read

With the ever-increasing shift to “no-antibiotics-ever” (NAE) production, probiotics have become more common in poultry diets, said Elizabeth Bobeck, PhD, a nutritional immunology expert and associate professor at Iowa State University.

“Probiotics have been successfully used to prevent or ameliorate digestive and metabolic disorders, but the mechanisms of action of probiotics are diverse, heterogenous and strain-specific,” she said.

Probiotics defined

Probiotics are living microorganisms that “confer health benefits when administered to the host in adequate amounts,” Bobeck explained during a presentation at the Midwest Poultry Conference.

“Mechanisms of action include normalization of perturbed microbial communities, competitive exclusion of pathogens, modulation of biliary salt, short-chain fatty acid production and enzymatic activation, intestinal physiological changes and immunoregulation.

“Prebiotics, on the other hand, are a group of nutrients that can be degraded by gut microbiota into short-chain fatty acids, which interact with the local gastrointestinal tract and can also be used systemically,” she continued.

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